Chiefs, Texans players booed during moment of unity; Houston stays in locker room for national anthem

Chiefs and Texans players and coaches lined up and stood together in the middle of the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night for a moment of unity ahead of the NFL season-opener.

The gesture occurred moments after the singing of the national anthem, for which Houston players and team personnel remained in the locker room in protest of racial injustice in the United States. Kansas City players and team personnel were on the field for the national anthem. Alex Okafor was the only player who took a knee.

Some Chiefs fans could be heard booing during the moment of unity. Attendance at Arrowhead was limited to 22 percent of capacity by COVID-19 regulations in Missouri.  

The Texans left the field following pregame warmups prior to the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, which the NFL is playing before Week 1 games. They remained in the locker room until both that song and “The Star-Spangled Banner” ended. 

Multiple police killings of unarmed Black people in the U.S. over recent months have prompted protests domestically and globally, and the demonstrations have spilled into sports. NFL players were expected to protest in Week 1 now that their national platform has returned.

Dolphins players already announced they will do on Sunday what the Texans did Thursday night and remain in the locker room for the playing of both anthems.

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